Robbie Ray returns to NL West as Giants acquire veteran LHP, Mariners get OF Mitch Haniger back

Jan 5, 2024, 4:41 PM

Robbie Ray...

Robbie Ray #38 formerly of the Seattle Mariners reacts during the sixth inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on October 02, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Outfielder Mitch Haniger is returning to the Seattle Mariners after being acquired from the San Francisco Giants on Friday along with right-hander Anthony DeSclafani and $6 million in exchange for left-hander Robbie Ray in a trade of underperforming players coming off injuries.

Ray, 32, pitched 3.1 innings against Cleveland last March in the Mariners’ second game then went on the injured list the next day and had season-ending Tommy John surgery and a flexor tendon repair on May 3 with Texas Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister.

Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi is confident in Ray helping his club in the second half of 2024 as the Giants try to contend again under new manager Bob Melvin after two straight years out of the playoffs.

“Robbie’s obviously a big piece for us and fills what we saw as the ideal of a No. 2 starter who had a different style than Logan Webb and complemented him well,” Zaidi said. “Robbie’s a power lefty who misses a lot of bats and before this injury had a really good track record of durability.”

Ray was an All-Star in 2017 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and has a 74-71 record with a 3.96 ERA in 222 starts and four relief appearances over 10 seasons. He had a no-trade provision that expired Sunday.

While the Giants are hopeful Ray will spend three years with the club, he does have an opt out following the 2024 season.

“There’s sort of plenty of room with what he has left on his contract for him to pitch well and opt in for those last 11:40 couple of years,” Zaidi said, noting Ray “looks great physically” and is throwing out to 90 feet during his rehab throwing regimen.

San Francisco will send Seattle $1 million on the first of each month from April through September this year.

Ray, who also gets a one-time $1 million assignment bonus, is owed $73 million from the remaining three seasons of a $115 million, five-year contract: $23 million this year and $25 million each in 2025 and 2026.

“The main motivation was to acquire Robbie Ray, who was a guy we had interest in when he was a free agent after the ’21 season,” Zaidi said. “… It’s probably reassuring to him that we’re going to be taking a long view having him under contract for a couple more years.”

Haniger spent 2017-22 with Seattle then left to sign a $43.5 million, three-year contract with the Giants.

He hit a career-low .209 with six homers and 28 RBIs last year, a season interrupted when he broke his right forearm when hit by a pitch from the St. Louis Cardinals’ Jack Flaherty on June 13. Haniger came back Aug. 31 and hit .159 with six RBIs over his final 21 games.

An All-Star in 2018, Haniger hit .253 in 2021, when he set career highs with 39 homers and 100 RBIs. He has a .256 career average with 118 homers and 351 RBIs in seven seasons.

“In Mitch, we get a player we know well, and hold in very high regard, as another piece for our outfield, while Anthony — who can start or pitch out of the ’pen — gives us depth in our pitching staff,” Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said in a statement.

Haniger is owed $17 million this year and $15.5 million in 2025. He gets a one-time $1 million assignment bonus due to the trade.

Ray and Haniger were teammates with the Diamondbacks before Seattle traded Ketel Marte and Taijuan Walker for Haniger and Jean Segura after the 2016 season.

DeSclafani, 33, was 4-8 with a 4.88 ERA in 18 starts and one relief appearance last year, striking out 79 and walking 20 in 99 2/3 innings. He was on the injured list from July 3-17 because of right shoulder fatigue and didn’t pitch after July 23 because of a right elbow flexor strain.

DeSclafani has a 54-56 record and 4.20 ERA in 169 starts and 11 relief appearances.

DeSclafani receives $12 million in the final season of a $36 million, three-year deal.

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Robbie Ray returns to NL West as Giants acquire veteran LHP, Mariners get OF Mitch Haniger back